There is an excellent weekly programme on Greek TV called “We stay in Greece” (Menoume Ellada), aired four times a week, with TV celebrities as guests.
The series visits various tourist destinations throughout the country with excellent photography, interviews with locals and tourists, Greeks and foreigners, and English subtitles.
I wonder if a similar programme, every week “We Stay in Cyprus” would be a good idea for us as well, helping to attract foreign tourists and locals, and by extension promoting the real estate sector.
Each week, the various tourist locations or areas could be promoted, and even specific residential and non-residential development projects could be reviewed.
There is an interesting programme on Cyprus state TV CyBC, which visits various villages, but the goal is not the same.
If the whole programme would cost €1 mln per year and with about 10 million overnight stays throughout Cyprus, this amount is feasible, estimated at 10 cents per night per person.
This programme could also include tourism-related projects, such as the various golf courses, marinas, restaurants, tavernas and bars, with a corresponding fee of €1,000-2,000 per project (such as the recent TV show about the Ayia Napa marina).
It is evident that even we Cypriots do not know what we have in this country.
Suddenly, we discover an amazing spa-wellness centre in a secluded village of Paphos, while hotels with chapels are a destination for weddings, even among Cypriots.
Pissouri Resort is an example, and the Anassa near Polis Chrysochous.
The demand is such that a wedding nowadays is determined according to the hotel’s availability for the chapel and not when it is suitable for the couple.
On the other hand, while staying in a 5-star hotel in Paphos during the New Year, we asked the reception to provide us with a shoe brush for 5 minutes to clean our shoes.
We were informed that they do not offer this service, despite the cost of accommodation for two days being €1,100. We finally bought a shoe brush from a nearby kiosk.
The Cypriot tourist is the best because of higher consumption (spending power) and visits during the winter months.
But some quality hoteliers take advantage of the whole situation.
To book a 4-star hotel in Protaras, they would ask for €400 for a weekend for two people on a B/B basis, which sounds reasonable.
We visited a restaurant in Pissouri on the beach.
Everything seemed fine, except for the music, which was somewhere between the haunted steel disco and anything else.
The restaurant’s clients are mainly middle-aged customers around 50 and older.
“That’s what our customers want”, replied the waiter and dismissed the use of soft/Greek holiday music that we suggested.
On another occasion, we attended a high-end wedding in Limassol, with the cost estimated at €200 per person.
We asked the foreign English-speaking waiter for a particular plate. He told us, “I don’t know”, and we had to go and look for ourselves.
This also happened to us at a seaside hotel.
We ordered a bottle of Ayios Andronikos wine, sold in supermarkets at €10. Instead, they charged us €56.
So, is this “quality tourism” or just plain quality robbery?
And then we come to Cypriot taxi drivers who give Cyprus a bad name with extreme overcharges, especially those who control the monopolies of the airports.
In my experience, we had agreed to a price with the hotel clerk of €25 from Larnaca to Protaras, but the driver charged us €32. He then told us he was doing us a favour.
Some “decency” from hoteliers and others is required.
It takes only a few to do damage, but they are enough to destroy the rest.
Antonis Loizou FRICS – Real Estate Appraiser & Development Project Manager